I have a very dear friend who shares my passion for bygone times and who is as titillated as I am by the notion of being able to time travel to experience history first hand. Given that neither of us is an absolute idiot we know that
a) it probably isn’t about to happen, no matter how many isolated crossroads we stand on or how many neolithic stone circles we visit.
b) there’s a huge risk we wouldn’t like it very much, because time travelling from the cozy haven of your favourite armchair with a cup of tea at reach is nowhere near the real experience. We think. And then we sort of sigh and spend a couple of wonderful hours in the world of “what if”.
What if I were to drop in on Elizabeth Tudor while she is flirting with Philip II? Or how about coming face to face with Alexander the Great or Robert Bruce or that delusional visionary Christofer Columbus? A quiet chit chat with Catherine of Medici while the streets of Paris colour red with Huguenot blood, or why not a cosy threesome with Their Most Catholic Majesties Ferdinand and Isabel? Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Eleanor of Aquitaine and her Henry tear into each other, to walk side by side with Scott all the way to the south pole (Naah, not really; I don’t want to freeze to death). Pick up a few beauty tips from Nefertiti, invite Shakespeare and Cervantes to the same dinner party, and hold King John’s hand as he died. (Everyone deserves a hand to hold onto when life gasps into extinction. Well, okay; perhaps not everyone …) So many people, so many fates. Phew.